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MacNeale & Urban Safe
MacNeale & Urban Safe  

M & U Safe art work
M & U Safe art work  
We are the second owners a 53"W X 62"T fully functional beautiful MacNeale & Urban safe with amazing art work on the inside of the first set of doors and on the outside of the second set of doors with a small working pinstriped interior combo safe. We are not sure what to do with it and exploring our options but I was wondering why neither set of exterior & interior doors are lockable? If you are interested in seeing this historical piece I would love to send you more information/pictures and would appreciate any expert professional advise on how to preserve this gem for future generations to see.


While most MacNeale & Urban safes had some nice art work, the really nice ones were almost "Picasso" like quality.   The standard ones would have pin striping and possibly an oil painting of scenery.

As far as your safe being a "Historical piece", unless you have documentation of a historical event that happened to the safe, or documentation of its ownership by a significant historical person, then you simply have an "antique" or "collectible" type safe.    Sorry but without documentation the "historical" part doesn't fly.    Without documentation, any "history" surrounding the safe is simply a great story!   Nothing more, nothing less!

As for restoration of the container, there are a lot of things that you can do from simply cleaning it, to a full blown restoration.   Obviously restoration "cost" WILL be dependent upon who you have do the work.   While a DIY restoration project would be the least expensive, you are only limited by YOUR capabilities.   If you don't have artistic talents, then you might limit your work to simply removing the old varnish and either re-varnishing or clear coating it.   You would be surprised at how much the old colors will "pop", simply by cleaning off the old varnish.
Obviously, if the original paint is worn, then it may be necessary to touch up or repaint some of the graphics and lettering.   Afterwards protecting the paint with a fresh coat of varnish or clear coat.
On safes which have major paint damage and/or rust, it may be necessary to sand or bead blast the safe to bare metal, fairing the surface and painting from scratch.   In these cases you may need a professional artist to re-create the art work.
Depending on the amount of work needed or done, costs can go from $0 to several thousands of $$$'s.

As for the condition of the locks and/or locking mechanisms, as you really didn't give me any information and/or photos of the locks, I can't answer questions concerning "WHY" they don't work, or are non-functional.   Mechanical items tend to be "hands-on" diagnostics and/or repairs.    You described the safe as "FULLY FUNCTIONAL", but then indicated that the "doors are not lockable".    If something is working correctly, then the container is NOT fully functional!

As far as your safe goes though, I've always liked the MacNeale & Urban styles and artwork, and at a minimum they always make a GREAT display item or conversation piece.

I would be more than happy to look at your safe to evaluate it and/or answer any specific questions that you have about it.   

In order to answer specific questions, identify, evaluate or appraise your safe, I'm going to need photos.  They should include full exterior and interior.  Detail photos should include pictures of the dial, handles, hinges, artwork, locks, bolt work, castors, cabinetry and any special details or damage.  Note:  You may have to remove the back panel on the door to gain access to the lock & bolt work – I will need these pics.
If you have a particular detail that you have a question about, I will need a photo of it along with your question.

I will also need to see any documentation that you have in regards to your safe.  If your safe has a unique historical perspective, you should be able to document this with letters, newspaper articles or photos, if not it is simply a story and will have no bearing on the value of your safe.

Please use as high a resolution as possible so that I can examine details of your safe.  Pictures which are low resolution, out of focus, or from a distance don’t help when we try to evaluate the container.  Note:  with higher resolution, you may only be able to send 2-4 pictures per email, depending on the size of the file, I have a 12mb limit per email.  If photos are larger than 2mb each, you may only be able to send 2 or 3 photos per email, requiring several emails.

Please don’t send me “cell phone” photos.   Also, please don’t use online, internet photo drops as most of these also don’t allow me to easily access the photos for examination.   Send the pics directly to me, while this may be more work for you, it will make my job easier.

Please send all of the requested photos to:

Note:  As I am in the field several days each week, covering a huge service area, I may not get back to your photos immediately, but I will respond as soon as I get an opportunity.  Due to field work, emails may tend to get backed up which means I may not answer them immediately.

Our informal evaluation is at no charge, however if you feel you need a formal evaluation or appraisal for insurance, estate sales, donations for tax write offs, or to establish it as an antique, there is an administrative fee for this service.  

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Terry V. Andreasen (Andy)


Safe and Vault related Questions; Antique Safe Repair and Restoration; With over 44 years in the Safe & Vault industry, if I can't answer your question I know where to get the answer. Current Project: Restoration of an Ely Norris Cannonball Safe from the early 1900's. Will answer Safe & Vault related questions concerning age, value, restoration, moving, opening & repairing, parts, operation and history. Note: It is not my intention to teach you to open safes or to provide information which may aid in the unlawful opening of a safe. I will not give out drill points or information which I deem inappropriate.


44 years in the Safe & Vault Industry. Owner and Service Manager for one of the largest Safe & Vault companies on the West Coast. Graduate of Lockmasters Safe Lock Servicing, Safe lock Manipulation and Safe Deposit Lock Courses. Graduate of Locksmith Institute. Author of "The Coffee Table Guide to Antique Safes". Certified Instructor for the California Locksmith Association teaching Basic and Advanced Lock Servicing, Basic Safe opening and Repairing. Factory Trained by AMSEC, LORD Safes, LeFebure, Mosler, KabaMas, LaGard and Sargent & Greenleaf

Safecrackers International and the National Antique Safe Association Safe & Vault Technicians Association

The Coffee Table Guide to Antique Safes

Graduate of Locksmith Institute 1972 Graduate Lockmasters Safe Lock Servicing 1974 Graduate Lockmasters Safe Lock Manipulation 1975 Graduate Lockmasters Safe Deposit Lock Servicing 1985 Instructor Certified - California Locksmith Association - 1985 Factory trained by AMSEC, MAJOR, STAR, Johnson-Pacific, Kaba-MAS, Allied-Gary, ISM, Lord, Brown Safe, EXL, Mosler, Diebold.

Awards and Honors
2009 - 2015 Listed in AllExperts top 50 Experts. All Experts Categories - Safes & Security Containers, Locksmithing, Antique Safes. Retired US Army Chief Warrant Officer (CW4), with 39 years of total service. With numerous awards from Vietnam, Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. US Navy - 1971-1981 US Army Reserve 1984-2013 US Army Retired

Past/Present Clients
US Secret Service, FBI, BATF, Local Law enforcment agencies, Diebold, Hamilton Pacific, Red Hawk Int., Chubb International, Bank of America, Wells Fargo Bank, Mechanics Bank, El Dorado Savings Bank, many Credit unions and smaller banks. McDonalds, Togos, BurgerKing, TacoBell, Carls Jr. FoodMaxx, SaveMart, Lucky's, Albertson's, Raley's, Safeway, NobHill, Bell Markets, PW Markets. Great America, Century Theatres, Cinemark Theatres, UA Cinemas, and many homeowners and small businesses. Provide warranty service for lock and safe manufactures. Service area is Northern California - Fresno to Oregon, including western Nevada

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